"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Davante Gardner beats out 3- and 4-star players for Virginia All-State honors

Davante Gardner has been chosen ahead of all other state 3-star players, and even some 4-star players, to be named 1st team All-State in Virginia.

Virginia continues to be a strong basketball state, including 15 current 3-star players and 12 that are 4-star or higher. Just two years ago my alma mater of Benedictine in Richmond, Virginia produced the No. 4 recruit in the country in Ed Davis. I believe this is an excellent sign that the coaches who have watched Davante continue to improve and shed weight during his 23-ppg, 13-rpg senior campaign chose him over all of his fellow 3-star recruits and even over some 4-star recruits for the honor.

Davante is joined on the All-State front line by highly sought after 4-star juniors in Dorian Finney-Smith (who also had listed Marquette as one of many potentials for 2011) and Travis McKie (Wake Forest bound after playing in my native city of Richmond).

The 4-star players Davante beat out for the honor include the likes CJ Barksdale (out of Danville, Virginia Tech-bound). He beat out fellow 3-stars such as Dimitri Batten (going to Gtown killer Old Dominion) and Andrew White, a junior out of the Richmond area.

The fact that the coaches at least seem to think Davante has gotten better than all the other 3-star players and at least some of the 4-star players is an excellent sign, because as I’ve documented on this blog before, 3-star players usually have very little impact their freshman year in the Big East while 4-star players usually have an immediate impact worth a couple of additional wins. If the high school coaches’ evaluation of his current level is indicative of Davante really being a 4-star level 6-foot-9, 280-pound big boy inside, then this signing really could be the breakthrough big man we’ve all been waiting for since Robert Jackson went to the Final Four.

To be fair, this does not prove that Davante is now one of the top 5 players in the state. The coaches also picked a backcourt of small guards who I assume are your typical awesome high school players that are not big time college prospects in Melvin Henderson from Roanoke and Max Lenox of WT Woodson (the high school from the movie Remember the Titans).

Clearly, if the coaches were picking the best five players in the state, the back court would have been the Oak Hill backcourt of 5-star Doron Lamb (going to Kentucky) and 4-star Juwan Staten (going to Dayton). However, the coaches don’t consider these players out of the Oak Hill machine that scheduled only seven games against Virginia teams, including beating my alma mater 79-65, as they continually play for the national title.

However, between the continuing reports of great progress from Chris Otule, and this latest indication that Davante Gardner has worked himself to a 4-star level, guard play may not be the only thing that excites the Bradley Center in the future … and having a shot at Virginia talent in future years would not be a bad thing either.


Unknown said...

Tc Williams was the name of the titans movie. Where was Kendall Marshall on the list?

JohnPudner said...

Kendall Marshall, who signed as soon as he was allowed with UNC after his sophomore year, did not make the All-State team this year as a season. He played for my high school's Catholic Tournament rival Bishop O'Connell back when I we were setting the record with 13 straight titles.

JohnPudner said...

Sorry for the typo - didn't mean to say that Kendall played for O'Connell when I was at Benedictine. I meant to say that he now plays for O'Connell as a senior, and that when I was in school O'Connell was our rival.